Andrews' Raid: "First Reward of Merit"

Sketch of an eagle spreading its wings with a banner in its mouth

By April 1863, the men who had taken part in Andrews' Raid had either escaped, been exchanged or been executed as spies by the Confederate authorities. The men who had survived both the raid and Confederate imprisonment would be the first recipients of the Medal of Honor. The following article is an account published in the Manchester Journal in Manchester Vermont, recounting the awarding of those first medals. 


Manchester Journal: April 7, 1863

First Reward of Merit

A very interesting affair occurred at the War Department on Wednesday, March 25. Six Ohio soldiers had just returned from imprisonment and extraordinary sufferings in rebeldom – being survivors of a party of twenty-two men ordered into Georgia on harzardous (hazardous) service, on the 7th of April, 1862, by General Mitchell. These men were elected for the service, one man only from a company, and proceeded very succesfuly (successfully) for a while, having captured a railroad train, and started therewith on their travels. Unluckily they got out of fuel, and then were captured by the rebels. – Seven of the party were hung (hanged) without time for preparation for execution ; one Jacob Barret, a young man of twenty years, received one hundred lashes on his back rather than disclose the name of the leader of the expedition, and all the survivors were treated with great brutality during their imprisonment of nearly one year. After giving a detailed account of their expedition and sufferings, they were presented to the Secretary of War, who gave to them the first medals of honor awarded by Congress for meritorious service, and presented to each a brevet lieutenancy in the army and one hundred dollars in money. Barrett, who bravely endured the one hundred lashes, received the first medal. Subsequently the men were honorably received by the President, who thanked them cordially for their heroic conduct. – Waltons Daily Journal 



The Manchester Journal, Tuesday, April 7, 1863, Page 1: "First Reward of Merit." Accessed through